Daily Dining Poll: Does a Kids’ Menu Make Dining Out Simpler for Parents?

Dining out with children has many rewards and, often, many challenges. We’re wondering if parents find it helpful to have a dedicated children’s menu from which to choose when visiting a restaurant with the little ones in tow. Weigh in below!

The Next Iron Chef Episode 5: Chef Marc Forgione on His Close Call

Next Iron Chef 5 Forge The Next Iron Chef Episode 5: Chef Marc Forgione on His Close Call
After losing the Secret Ingredient Challenge, Chef Forgione has a disadvantage in this one: He's the last one to select his ingredients, and a lot of the good stuff is gone.

As you may have guessed, we’re big fans of chef Marc Forgione here at OpenTable. So, we were on pins and needles watching the latest episode of The Next Iron Chef as this Michelin-starred chef struggled from start to finish. Like every week, chef Forgione shares his thoughts on what went right and wrong in Kitchen Stadium.

The show starts and you look so excited to cook with potatoes. Why do you love them so much? What’s your absolute favorite way to cook them?

Potatoes are one of those ingredients that you can twist and turn, flavor and season. You can turn a normal potato into something decadent or rustic. It is one of those blank canvases that you can play around with, manipulate, etc. My rustic favorite way to cook potatoes is to bake them and serve them with butter, salt and pepper. My fancy way to cook them is to make Robuchon-style mashed potatoes.

Chef Caswell hoards the black truffle. Doesn’t a little truffle go a very long way? Or is this just a good example of game play?

They were not black truffles; they were summer truffles and there were only a few in the pantry. Summer truffles don’t go a long way, certainly not as far as black truffles. Chef Caswell probably needed to use more than you would expect because they are not that flavorful.  As far as him game playing, you’d have to ask Chef Caswell that question.

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The World Series Has Ended, But Spotlight Offers Start to Shine Again Tonight!

SS BOS B 110210 The World Series Has Ended, But Spotlight Offers Start to Shine Again Tonight!
Can you guess which Boston restaurant serves this savory dish?

Last night, OpenTable’s HQ hometown baseball team, the San Francisco Giants, won the World Series. Yay, Giants! Are you sad the Series is over? I am. In fact, I’m sure I speak for everyone at OpenTable (except for Chip O’Connell. Sorry, Chip!) when I say that we’re all sad it has ended, but only because we’d like to relive the last minutes of Game 5 again. And again. And again. And… sorry, I digress. So, you’re sad the Series is over. On top of that, this weekend is the weekend that we turn back the clocks, and that’s always an agent of sadness, what with it getting darker earlier EVERY SINGLE DAY until December 21st. Boo!

BUT we’ve got a reason — or, to be precise, NINE reasons — to be really happy right now: OpenTable Spotlight offers are set to shine bright later tonight! As usual, offers will be available in AtlantaBostonChicagoDenverLos AngelesNew YorkPhiladelphiaSan Francisco, and Washington, D.C.. You’ll get the chance to save 50% at terrific restaurants, and saving money is enough to put a spring in anyone’s step, right? Until we launch our offers tonight, try to correctly guess the restaurant names based on our clever Secret Spotlight clues on the Spotlight message boards, Facebook, or Twitter!

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What Do Cleveland, Long Island, and Silicon Valley Have in Common?

Silicon Valley Restaurant Week 2010 What Do Cleveland, Long Island, and Silicon Valley Have in Common?It’s a head scratcher, we know, but the answer is…restaurant week! These three locales are each feting the foods in their regions, offering up steals on meals at some of their area’s best fine dining destinations.

Cleveland Restaurant Week kicked off today and runs through November 14. With most restaurants offering $30 dinners, including Crop Bistro, The Greenhouse Tavern, Table 45, and many more, book your tables to enjoy a fortnight of savings in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Capital of the World!

On the East Coast, Long Island Restaurant Week diners can enjoy $24.95 three-course dinners at restaurants such as Bel Posto, Mirabelle, and Stone Creek Inn, November 7-14. With participating restaurants from the Queens border to the East End of the Island, reserve for Long Island Restaurant Week today to dine your way from NYC and back again.

Out west, Silicon Valley is staging what will surely be another successful restaurant week. Silicon Valley Restaurant Week starts November 3rd and extends ’til the 10th. Offering America’s most tech-savvy foodies $35 dinners, participating restaurants include ARCADIA, Parcel 104, and Zitune, among others. Get out your mobile phone and book your reservations now.

Not near any of these exciting restaurant weeks? Find one near you!

Top Chef Just Desserts Episode 7: War of the Roses Leads to Demise of Team Diva

TCJD 7 Eric Top Chef Just Desserts Episode 7: War of the Roses Leads to Demise of Team Diva
As Eric creates roses, he can't decide which is more unnerving: Johnny's steady gaze or his sideburns.

As the herd thins on Top Chef Just Desserts, the action does not. Le Bernardin Executive Pastry Chef Michael Laiskonis notes, “The show is becoming more about the food and techniques, which I love!” Chef Laiskonis offers up his expert insights into what went right and wrong in last night’s episode.

The QFC is based on three tenets of working in a pastry kitchen: organization, speed, and precision. Would you agree with these as the top requirements, and/or if you could add a fourth or fifth, what would it/they be?

Those are certainly three vital pillars upon which a pastry chef’s skills are built. Obviously, teamwork also comes into play. And, perhaps, I might add humility — something a few of our cheftestants could use a bit more of. I was excited to see this challenge, as they were already planning the logistics while I was on set taping my episode!

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San Francisco Restaurants Are Seeing Stars. Michelin Stars, That Is.

SF Michelin Guide 20111 San Francisco Restaurants Are Seeing Stars. Michelin Stars, That Is.The Michelin Guide San Francisco Bay Area & Wine Country Restaurants 2011 was released today, and while not everyone is happy about it, we’re here to herald the good news, starting with the fact that both The French Laundry and The Restaurant at Meadowood earned three stars.

Restaurants honored with a pair of stars are Coi, Cyrus, and Manresa.

One star has been awarded to restaurants including AcquerelloAmeAuberge de SoleilAzizaBouchonBoulevardChez TJCommisThe Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton, Domaine Chandon-étoile,  Farmhouse Inn & RestaurantFleur de LysLa FolieLa ToqueLuceMadrona ManorMasa’sMurray CircleOne Market, The Plumed HorseQuinceReddSantéSolbarTerraUbuntu, and The Village Pub, along with first-time one-star winners Alexander’s SteakhouseApplewood Inn,  Campton PlaceDio DekaFrancesSaison, and Spruce.

A single star from Michelin is impressive and indicates that a restaurant is very good, while three stars means that a restaurant is a destination in and of itself, worthy of a special culinary expedition.

Congratulations to the winners. Browse the full list and start making your reservations at San Francisco’s Michelin-starred restaurants today.

Delicious Deals on Meals: OpenTable Spotlight Offers for 10/27!

SS SF 1027 Delicious Deals on Meals: OpenTable Spotlight Offers for 10/27!
Can you guess which San Francisco restaurant serves up this delicious cioppino?

It’s the most wonderful time of the week! The OpenTable Spotlight offers are set to turn on in AtlantaBostonChicagoDenverLos AngelesNew YorkPhiladelphiaSan Francisco, and Washington, D.C. We’ll let you know where — but do you? Make your best guesses on the Spotlight message boards, Facebook, or Twitter with these helpful hints!

trans Delicious Deals on Meals: OpenTable Spotlight Offers for 10/27!Atlanta: Nestled in a cozy inn in Decatur, this charming French restaurant serves classic bistro favorites. The Chef’s childhood in the south of France inspired the bistro’s French-Mediterranean influenced menu and bistro’s warm hospitality.

Boston: The Japanese chef and owner of this flavorful, South Boston spot learned the art of his inventive cuisine and stellar customer service from his father.

trans Delicious Deals on Meals: OpenTable Spotlight Offers for 10/27!Chicago: Enjoy the tantalizing tastes of a Next Iron Chef contender at this restaurant in River North, where the menu benefits from both Latin and Indian culinary inspiration.

Denver: This LoDo District restaurant features the best of the bayou in the heart of Denver. Enjoy warm, southern hospitality and tasty dishes at this local favorite.

Los Angeles: Take a culinary trip to Rome or Milan with the authentic and delicious cuisine at this Santa Monica establishment, where both owner and chef hail from Italy.

New York: Enjoy the tantalizing tastes of a Next Iron Chef contender at this Midtown East restaurant, where the menu benefits from both Latin and Indian culinary inspiration.

Philadelphia: This historic restaurant has roots all over the world. Now a well established destination in Penn’s Landing, it has anchored itself to the hearts (and stomachs) of Philadelphia diners, and established a fine tradition of hospitality and entertaining.

San Francisco: According to authority Kat Rosa, this restaurant is set “on the oldest continually producing winery in the United States.” Just an hour east of San Francisco, this scenic restaurant serves fresh, seasonal fare, with many ingredients coming from the restaurant’s own gardens.

Washington, D.C.: A grand and signature presence is incorporated into the opulent décor at this restaurant in DC, and at its other locations in some of the finest cities throughout the world.

Be sure to get your offers before the Spotlight goes out on Wednesday night!

The Next Iron Chef Episode 4: Chef Marc Forgione Talks Transformation

Next Iron Chef 3 Ep 4 Cast The Next Iron Chef Episode 4: Chef Marc Forgione Talks Transformation
The chefs, with journals in hand, listen to the challenge at hand. "I'm not a big fair guy. I come from Manhattan. I have no idea what's served at a fair. No clue." — Chef Forgione

Would-be Iron Chef Marc Forgione and his fellow contenders were tasked with transforming ingredients and dishes last night. Chef Forgione talks about how he fared at the San Diego County Fair.

First up, you had to transform a condiment. Is the danger of things like steak sauce/ketchup/bbq sauce the sugar content in them? Can they make something too cloying?

The hardest part about the condiment challenge was that condiments are used to make other things taste better, not really used on their own. We had to transform a condiment into something that was not only good to eat and flavorful, but the condiment had to be the star.

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